Cameratrapping

The advantage of working with a camera trap is that you can set up your own outdoor studio and create a setting in which you photograph the animal as you thought it out. The advantage of a DSLR camera trap is that you can make high-quality recordings of animals that are difficult to photograph. Camera trapping gives you the opportunity to self-register your photo for almost 100%.
when I started camera trapping, I immediately became a big fan of this technique. Camera trapping gives you the possibility to enter a world that you would normally never see. In 2017 I came across several photographs of photographers who had made beautiful pictures with this technique. I wanted to know how they accomplished this and went to investigate.
The information at that time was limited and difficult to find. on Youtube, there were already 3 videos on this subject. The movie by Michael Durham was very inspiring and gave me enough information to continue searching. https://youtu.be/SLuFlsMey1w
After some research online I came across the website of Will Burrard-Lucas who made his own products for the camera trapping. This was a nice start! www.camtraptions.com
To build a complete functional camera trap in my eyes you have to be a bit creative, be handy with tools and be able to fabricate well. The best tip I can give is to make sure the camera trap and your flash housings are waterproof. In the beginning I had made many mistakes in the design of the camera trap so water had come on the glass and all the photos had condensation on the lens, I also had the flash adjusted incorrectly so that the pine marten after one visit was so terrified of the flashes that he ran away and only showed up again after 8 weeks. Not how I like to work…

The cameratrap, flashes and housings:

For the camera housing I went looking for a cheaper alternative than a real pelican case and found similar cases online for a nice price. I used rain pipe components for the flash housings and for the cameratrap itself. With rain pipe parts you can easily make waterproof housings.
The search for the right flashes, housings, sensors and triggers could begin. After some searching, I found the right flash online and bought a second hand as this model was no longer available in stores. This flash is special since it can hold its charge and has a standby mode making it the perfect flash for camera trapping. I control the flashes with triggers from Camtraptions. A trigger on the camera and a receiver under the flash. This allows me to move the flashes further away from the camera.

The motion sensor:

I searched online for all types of motion sensors. I had found different models and do-it-yourself kits. However, I went for the PIR motion sensor from Will Burrard Lucas. This photographer has created a motion sensor himself and developed specifically for camera trapping. at that time I bought the second generation motion sensor from Will, namely the PIR MOTION SENSOR V2. After reading the manual, I learned how to use this trigger for my first setup. Currently, I am so satisfied and happy with the PIR motion sensor V2 that I bought the V3 this week.
below I would like to show you some pictures of my setups and photos taken:

Do I have to have an FF for a camera trap? I do not think so, a good or second-hand Crop frame is fine. I use a Nikon D7100 & a D7200 for my camera traps. These have a 24MP sensor which is more than enough in my eyes. As a lens, I use an old 18-70 mm without image stabilization. Be careful not to use image stabilization. This is also not desirable for a camera trap. Often a 10-20 mm lens is also used.

Setting up a camera trap is not easy. Your location, subject and lighting are essential for making a good photo. The better you know the animal, the better the photo becomes. Knowledge is so important with nature photography in my eyes. Both the knowledge about the animal and knowledge about your equipment is essential.

Before I install my camera somewhere I do preliminary research using game cameras. These are cameras that you can hang up somewhere and register each animal when it passes. The best solution for a good research if you ask me! I often check the environment for traces of animals. Knowledge and information are the keys to success.

If I install my camera somewhere I always put a game camera next to it, because I can then observe the behavior of the subject. This gives me new information to adjust the setup or change my settings.

When setting up a camera trap you can often determine the setting yourself in the area. Look carefully at beautiful perches, moss spots or other beautiful pieces of nature. your creativity can sometimes be your biggest limitation. In addition to looking at beautiful pieces of nature, you can also look at new perspectives. Be innovative and try to make something you have never seen anywhere before.

even though I can tell you a lot more about this, I hope you learned something from my article and enjoyed some of my pictures. If you have questions about this subject or are interested in a workshop, you can always contact me.